2 Samuel 5 Part 2–God Retakes the Lead

For the majority of Saul’s reign, he quit hearing from the Lord.  Now as David began leading the people, He was seeking God first and God was responding.  What’s more, God was not only responding to David’s inquiries, the Lord was actually going before Israel in battle.  God assisted David in the defeat and retaking of Jerusalem–and next, He led David and assisted in the utter destruction of the Philistine armies.  Israel was once again a nation led by God and ruled by a king that sought God with his heart.
 
In our lives, We see a dramatic difference when we allow God to lead in our lives.  If we seek the Lord and humbly follow, He will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream.  That is why we have to focus on our walk with God and allow Him to direct our path. It does not mean that we will not encounter battles, it simply means that God will go before us and lead us through those battles.  There is no better way to live.
 
God Bless You

 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.[c] 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon[d] to Gezer

2 Samuel 5–David Becomes King of a United Israel

7and 1/2 Years David lived in a divided kingdom. He reigned in Hebron but Israel was held at bay. Then the Elders finally submitted to God and at 37 years old, David became God’s king.  Immediately upon becoming king, David began the work of regaining the territory lost in the time of disarray.  He took Jerusalem–the Jebusites had fancied themselves unbeatable…They were–until they weren’t.  David recaptured his city and expanded his territory.  It was a time of restoration for David and for Israel.
 
If we follow God closely and trust him completely, We will see our share of hills and valleys. Life will throw curves and we will make dumb mistakes. God will make a huge difference in our lives, however, that will last an eternity. We must never give up.  We must never give in.  We must always seek God and trust him to do as he promised in our lives.  If we will, then that trust will carry us through the tough times and encourage us in the times of joy. We will always point to God and his blessing and never need to point at our accomplishments or treasures.  It had to be a time of pure peace for David–even as he battled Israel’s enemies. God had restored him to be king–just as he promised David when he was a teenager!
 
God Bless You

All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood.In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron, he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem, he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

David Conquers Jerusalem

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.[a]” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.”

David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces[b] inward. 10 And he became more and more powerful because the Lord God Almighty was with him.

2 Samuel 4–The Lives of Kings

It was becoming a free-for-all. Now that Saul was dead, opportunists were seeking to gain favor with David by killing off Saul’s house.  It broke David’s heart.  As these latest raiders brought the head of Saul’s son to David, they expected a reward. David was furious.  Instead of a reward, David had them executed and publicly humiliated.  That is what was done to men that murdered kings.  David sent the message such behavior would not be tolerated.  
 
The world simply does not value life.  Make no mistake, each person values their own life, mostly above all else.  But apart from God, most do not value others lives.  So given the opportunity, the evil men do to promote themselves becomes worse each passing generation.  As God’s chosen, we must live lives that are selfless and that promote life.  We cannot act only for our interest, but we must live with the truth that others matter as well.  David understood that–that is what made him a great king and the man after God’s heart.  Help me, Lord to have the same heart as did David.
 
God Bless You

When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. Now Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Rekab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin—Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day.

(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest.They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away.

They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah. They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.”

David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”

12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.

2 Samuel 3 Part 2–Sad End to A Sad War

 David came to terms with Abner, general from the house of Saul. He made peace and looked to end the conflict.   Sadly, as he sent Abner on his way, Joab, David’s general, found out that the guy that killed his brother was just set free.  So Joab chased Abner down and killed him.  It was such a sad day for David and for Israel.  Joab and his family would be cursed. David and his army would not be done and Abner, the one to bring peace, was murdered. David commanded all mourn for Abner’s death.  He mourned and fasted the entire day.  They honored the general, even though Abner was in Saul’s house.
 
In truth, war just stinks.  The costs are high, the unintended damages are often great and senseless.  That is why we do not go to war thoughtlessly or at a whim.  It is critical that while we ready ourselves for battle, that we become men of peace and reason.  David was clearly a great warrior.  But, he knew the value of peace.  His deal with Abner was a deal for the peace of Israel, not simply for himself. We have to live our lives the same.  We must always be ready for the spiritual battles we face, but, we need to be peaceful people.  Joab was cursed because he could not do that. David was great because he could. Let’s choose to be peaceful people ready for battle.
 
God Bless You

Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.

24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”

26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.

28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy[a] or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”

30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)

31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also

2 Samuel 2 Part 2–Civil War Stinks!

Now that Saul and Jonathan were gone, there still remained a sharp division between Saul’s people and David’s people.  What started out to be a discussion of an amicable solution, ended in a bloody civil war that cost the lives of over 400 soldiers. While the great majority were of Saul’s house, it was still a sad state of affairs.  Finally, when Joab’s brother was killed, both sides said enough.
 
The anger, the resentment, and the division had not ended–but the futility of killing each other became apparent. Both sides turned and went their separate ways. 
 
In our lives, we are put in positions that cause hurt and bitterness.  In that, if not dealt with reasonably, things can escalate to civil war in families.  Lives are damaged, relationships ended and families destroyed. Sadly, by the time all realize the devastation, it is often too late.  As a church, we have to exercise grace. None of us are perfect and all of us can forgive as we have been forgiven.  If we will, we can avoid life-changing civil wars and relationship killing altercations.  As God showed David, vengeance is God’s, and the Lord will repay evil against His chosen–so let Him!
 
God Bless You 

Then Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have some of the young men get up and fight hand to hand in front of us.”

“All right, let them do it,” Joab said.

15 So they stood up and were counted off—twelve men for Benjamin and Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, and twelve for David. 16 Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his dagger into his opponent’s side, and they fell down together. So that place in Gibeon was called Helkath Hazzurim.[a]

17 The battle that day was very fierce, and Abner and the Israelites were defeated by David’s men.

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Now Asahel was as fleet-footed as a wild gazelle. 19 He chased Abner, turning neither to the right nor to the left as he pursued him. 20 Abner looked behind him and asked, “Is that you, Asahel?”

“It is,” he answered.

21 Then Abner said to him, “Turn aside to the right or to the left; take on one of the young men and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel would not stop chasing him.

22 Again Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me! Why should I strike you down? How could I look your brother Joab in the face?”

23 But Asahel refused to give up the pursuit; so Abner thrust the butt of his spear into Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He fell there and died on the spot. And every man stopped when he came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died.

24 But Joab and Abishai pursued Abner, and as the sun was setting, they came to the hill of Ammah, near Giah on the way to the wasteland of Gibeon. 25 Then the men of Benjamin rallied behind Abner. They formed themselves into a group and took their stand on top of a hill.

26 Abner called out to Joab, “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their fellow Israelites?”

27 Joab answered, “As surely as God lives, if you had not spoken, the men would have continued pursuing them until morning.”

28 So Joab blew the trumpet, and all the troops came to a halt; they no longer pursued Israel, nor did they fight anymore.

2 Samuel 1 Part 2–Is It Worth the Price

In the Bible stories we read as children, we hear of David and Goliath, but, we do not hear much about the long, hard ascension David made to the throne of Israel. From the time he was anointed by Samuel, he endured several attempts on his life, running as a fugitive for years, living with the enemy and in caves. Then when Saul, his enemy finally dies, David pays a nice tribute to the dead king and  Jonathan. In response, he then is thrown into years of civil war with the house of Saul and Saul’s army.  He was made king of Judah, but the rest of Israel still followed the house of Saul.
 
David was clearly following God’s lead. He had done nothing to cause the trial and tribulation he faced–still, he faced years of pain and persecution before finally taking the throne for which God anointed him. 
 
There are sometimes just no good answers to why we encounter trials and tribulation. We know we are in a spiritual battle, but even when we do what is right, sometimes things are tough. In those times it is easy to become discouraged and to wonder why we bother to remain faithful. The truth is that we are called to be God’s chosen, His adopted kids. In that place, we are hated by the world, and the enemy; and will always be a target to minimize or neutralize our impact on others. We must endure the struggles and embrace our calling. If we will, we will have a purposeful and amazing life here and an eternity with God in Heaven.  No matter how difficult the struggle–it is worth it.  Paul said it best in Romans, “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.
 
God Bless You

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.

The Lord said, “Go up.”

David asked, “Where shall I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

So David went up there with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David also took the men who were with him, each with his family, and they settled in Hebron and its towns. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him. May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. Now then, be strong and brave, for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them.”

War Between the Houses of David and Saul

Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.

10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David. 11 The length of time David was king in Hebron over Judah was seven years and six months.

2 Samuel 1 Part 1–David Learns of Saul’s Demise

Truly, the death of Saul was a counter-intuitive event for David and for the Amalekite that brought news of Saul’s death.  There is little doubt that the messenger thought he would be the bearer of great news.  David’s nemesis and chief adversary was now gone and David could gain his throne…Isn’t that good news?  Well for David, his heart was for Israel. As God’s anointed king, David was deeply saddened by the death of another anointed king.  He was also saddened by the death of his friend Jonathan.  Mostly, however, he was saddened that the Amalekite servant was glad to see Israel’s king killed.

It is sad to see things go bad.  Even when we may benefit from another’s loss, our hearts, when focused on the Lord, can never rejoice when others pay a great price for it.  David was not selfish or narcissistic. He truly mourned the death of Saul.  David would now complete the mission, but, truth be told, David would have rather approached the throne as a welcome king, not a conquering one.

We need David’s heart.  We should seek God. He should be our primary concern.  As we do, the Lord deals with the circumstances that intervene. The way he protects and provides may be baffling to us, but as we trust him, the Lord makes clear that He is working His plan in our lives.  We will have to trust God to keep His word.  We can never underestimate God’s power, planning, or timing to address our needs and our lives.  We must seek the Lord with our hearts and trust Him with our lives. If we will do that, God promises to make our paths straight, to restore and heal us, and to add all these other things to our lives–that seems like a fair trade to me!!! (Matt 6:33, Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

God Bless You

After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day, a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.

“Where have you come from?” David asked him.

He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.”

“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”

“The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’

“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’

“‘An Amalekite,’ I answered.

“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’

10 “So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

13 David said to the young man who brought him the report, “Where are you from?”

“I am the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite,” he answered.

14 David asked him, “Why weren’t you afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?”

15 Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. 16 For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”